Abu Dhabi | Dubai: In Abu Dhabi, Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador of India to the UAE, marked the 77th Indian National Day with pomp and festivity.
Independence Day 2023 on Tuesday is the 77th celebration that commemorates India's freedom from British colonial rule in 1947.
In a speech to Indians gathered in the embassy, Ambassador Sudhir said: “I convey my warm greetings and best wishes to you all. Members of the vibrant and dynamic Indian community, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to each one of you, for gracing this occasion with your presence.
"The day any country achieves independence, is a landmark day in its history. For India, we achieved independence exactly 76 years ago in 1947 when our TIRANGA, our tri-colour national flag replaced the Union Jack. On this date, 76 years ago, we broke free from the yoke of colonialism and centuries of exploitation by our colonisers and were born as a free nation,"
"Let us take a moment to reflect on the journey that brought us to where we stand today. Our forefathers, through unwavering determination, sacrifices, and a vision for a brighter future, paved the way for the India that we know today. They ignited the spark of independence that still burns bright in our hearts, and it is our responsibility to carry that flame forward.”
The Consul General of India Dubai led the celerations with Indian nationals present at the diplomatic compound here on Tuesday.
Ramkumar Thangaraj, Acting Consul General of India to Dubai, led the gathering with the traditional hoisting of the Indian national flag at 8 am and paying floral offering to father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi ji at the Consulate premises.
Indian expats and nationals gathered around to sing Vande Mataram – a Sanskrit song adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India as a national song and to be honoured along with the Indian National Anthem.
Gathered around the flag, the Indian expatriate community in Dubai joined the event with patriotic fervour as they sang the Indian national anthem to mark the historic day.
Independence Day of India is significant as it was when Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, raised the country's flag over the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi — on August 15, 1947.
The current Prime Minister raises the flag and addresses the country on each successive Independence Day.
Celebrations across the UAE
The various consuls of India celebrated the Indian Independence Day in Northern Emirates. Vice Consul, Consular Amresh Kumar hoisted the Indian national flag at the India Social Club Fujairah; Vice Consul Account and Administration Manju Ahuja hoisted the flag at the Indian Association in Umm Al Quwain; in Ras Al Khaimah, the flag hoisting was done by Consul Passport, Sunil Kumar at the Indian Relief Committee.
To the mark the 77th Indian National Day, UAE-based Indian expatriates gathered mark the occasion in all
Pomp and festivity
In Dubai, the guests comprising of Indian expats and Indian nationals visiting from the sub-continent and other parts of the world – made their way to the Indian Consulate as early as 7 am to mark the occasion. They looked vibrant as they were dressed in Indian attire – mostly in the tri-colour of the Indian flag – orange, white, green and blue.
In his speech to all those gathered at the consulate, Thangaraj said: “As we celebrate the 77th anniversary of India’s Independence, I am filled with immense pride and joy to extend my warmest greetings to my fellow Indians and friends of India in the United Arab Emirates.
"As is customary, on this occasion, I would like to read the excerpts from the President of India’s address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day.”
Quoting from a speech delivered by the President of India, Thangaraj read: “It is a glorious and auspicious occasion for all of us. I am overjoyed to see that festivity is in the air. It is a matter of delight as well as pride for us to see how everyone – children, youth and the elderly, in cities and villages, everywhere in India – are excited to celebrate this festival of our freedom. The people have been celebrating ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ with great enthusiasm.”
He continued: “What we celebrate on Independence Day is the fact that we are part of a great democracy. Each of us has many identities – apart from caste, creed, language and region, we are also identified with our families and professions – but there is one identity that is above all. That is our identity as citizens of India. Each one of us is an equal citizen; each one of us has an equal opportunity, equal rights and equal duties in this land.”
Meanwhile at the Consulate General of India in Dubai, celebrations were galore. The day’s programme started with a performance by school children. This was followed by a display of Kalaripayattu, the traditional Indian martial art form who were also setting a world record on the day.
A group of dancers from Philadelphia, USA had flown in to perform for Indian Independence Day. The group going by the name “Three Aksha” performed a traditional Bharata Natyam dance. Their show ended to a big applause from the audience as they sang in chorus the “Vande Mataram” while the dancers on stage waved the Indian National flag.
The day’s celebrations capped with a musical performance by a group of students trained by their master Khushwant Singh.
Greeting from space
Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who is on the longest Arab mission to the International Space Stations, shared greetings for the occasion and a picture of the Indian capital New Delhi taken from space.
"To all Indians around the world, Happy Independence Day from the International Space Station! Sharing with you a capture of India's capital, New Delhi, from space," he wrote on his account on X (formerly called Twitter).